HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Last Summer Christopher and Jessica Baldridge went through an experience they'll never forget. They had a baby boy at 23 weeks and two days. He weighed a pound and a half.
Baby boy Adrian came into the world early and was transferred to the NICU at the Huntsville Hospital. Luckily Adrian pulled through. "He`s now almost 14 pounds, giggles all the time, and just fat and happy like you would expect a baby to be," Christopher Baldridge said.
The Melissa George Fund was formed 11 years ago by Chris and Amy George. "It`s named after our daughter Melissa. We had twin girls born at 26 weeks, 14 weeks premature. Melissa lived about two hours and a half, she passed away in the NICU," Co-Founder Chris George said.
Their other daughter ended up spending 68 days in the NICU and is now 11 years old. The fund has been teaming up with the Havoc for a while now. "Local owner of the Havoc Keith Jeffries decided 10 years ago... he came to us with an idea of doing something for Melissa's fund and this night came of their idea", George said.
The idea is simple, auctioning off Havoc player's jerseys to raise funds for the foundation. Every year has been successful. Hockey fans can also donate clothes, books, and gifts. All of the donations benefit the NICU at the Huntsville Hospital.
The Baldridge family went through something many families go through each year, and they have some advice. "Don`t be afraid to do what you need to do, to be there for your spouse, be there for your baby, and your other kids. There's no shame in the game if you will, it`s a tough road," Christopher Baldridge said.
Chris George said the equipment that's purchased for the NICU is state of the art and is clinically proven to increase odds of the baby going home with their family.
Over the years, the Melissa George Fund has raised more than 2.5 million dollars for the Huntsville Hospital NICU.